The latest disclosures from the Federal Election Commission reveal the current financial strength of the Democratic field, or rather their weakness. All but three of the eight candidates are increasingly strapped for cash as they enter Super Tuesday and the big leg of the campaign.
The candidates not in crisis are Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and the two billionaires in the race, Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Sanders, whose two presidential campaigns have been built around the messaging that he’s leading “a revolution,” has been able to finance a national campaign through grassroots fundraising and small dollar donations. He began the month of February with $16.8 million on hand, far ahead of most of the competition.
The only candidates surpassing the democratic socialist are the two self-funding billionaires. Steyer, who has collected hundreds of thousands of individual donations from supporters, edged out Sanders by starting the month off with $17.8 million. This money did not transfer to popular support, as Steyer was excluded from the recent debate, although he hopes for a strong showing in the South Carolina primary next week.
Michael Bloomberg, who was included in the debate for the first time, began the month with $55.1 million cash on hand, all of it his own. The candidate, who only joined the race in November, has sworn off outside fundraising. In only a few months, Bloomberg has spent more than $460 million of his own money on his candidacy.